Meet the founder of Flixmedia
Hi Scott, tell me a little bit about being the founder of Flixmedia.
I founded Flixmedia in 2002, back when online shopping was in its infancy, and the quality and content of retail websites reflected this. It was clear that enhancing content and connecting brands and retailers would play a crucial part in improving the shopping experience. This was my ‘eureka moment’.
So, I quit my job and starting building relationships with key figures in the retail industry across the globe. What followed was five years of relentless and insane working hours. But these early efforts – and the dedication of a great leadership team – has definitely paid off. Flixmedia now operates in 80 countries and helps brands and retailers provide fantastic online shopping experiences to increase sales. Flixmedia automates brand content dissemination across a global network of brands and retailers, partnering with 1,600 major global retail customers and 100 major brands.
I regard myself as more of an entrepreneur than a CEO; I’ve also started an augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality company, EyeKandy, am an Ambassador for several initiatives to help develop young entrepreneurs, and am a Benefactor and Patron of the Raindance Film Festival.
What inspired you to get into action and launch Flixmedia?
If you need inspiration to start a business, then you shouldn’t be starting a business. No one inspired me. No one should inspire you, it’s not a strong enough reason to start a business. The 'eureka moment' inspired me! It’s that moment when your observations and initiative for improvements collide, which is followed by the ‘crystallisation moment’, when you know, you just know, you can do something cheaper, faster, better. And then the story really begins, and the dedication, intensity and focus combine to make your ideas suddenly become very real.
What’s the most important decision you’ve made so far, to grow your business?
I heard a phrase once 'Ain’t nothing to it, but to do it'. At some point, you just have to make the decision to get on with it; to commit 100%, not 99%, to stop talking and start doing. The most important decision, as simple as it sounds, is to get started.
Feeling lonely seems to go hand-in-hand as an entrepreneur. How do you handle those moments?
There are some very lonely moments as an entrepreneur; it’s part of the deal. Your vision, your energy, your drive, are what’s fuelling your business. So, when you do have moments of doubt, keep them hidden from your team. Negative energy can affect a team just as much as positivity can.
However, it’s important take time to evaluate any doubt you may have: is it well founded, or is it just that you’re having a bad day? Take a practical, rather than emotional view of the cause of your doubt. Evaluate practical next steps and solutions, rather than always involving your team.
What are your thoughts on tech and how it will look in 10 years?
Ten years from now, nothing will be the same. I can imagine completely immersive shopping experiences, from the comfort of your own home. I can imagine simply saying out loud the name of the product you want, and it arriving within an hour. I can imagine a personal shopper that you can educate on your likes and dislikes, entrust with a budget, and then sit back while it does all your shopping for you.
The technology available today will evolve to make these things a reality. There’s a growing list of billion-dollar start-up opportunities associated with this evolution – so get a move on!
What habits do you think helped you to become a successful entrepreneur?
Discipline, persistence and persistence. And a whole lot more persistence! If you’re not ready to hear ‘no’ 25 times a day and spend years dedicating all your focus on realising your company's vision, then being an entrepreneur is not for you. Yes, it’s hard, but it’ssupposedto be hard.
What are your thoughts on failure?
I failed in business several times before I had my first moderate success. It wasn't until my fifth business, Flixmedia, that I was able to apply all that I’d learnt from my earlier failures, which in turn helped to drive success in the long-term. Remember, you only need to get it right once! Failure gets a bad rap as a negativeprocess. It's the total and complete opposite, as long as you learn from these moments. If you learn from the fails, they're priceless. However, if you make the same mistakes over again, maybe being an entrepreneur isn’t for you!
What tip would you like to pass on to young entrepreneurs?
Know your numbers. It’s boring, it’s a pain to look at a spreadsheet for hours and hours, but, get the target numbers right and it could be the difference that makes the difference to your success. If you're not good at maths, find someone who is, but don’t skip the focus on numbers when you’re starting out.
How do you avoid burn-out?
If you’re burnt out you’re doing it wrong. Get ill and it’s over. I have two rules; eat well, sleep well. An entrepreneur burns everything faster than a non-entrepreneur. Your brain will process more data, a lot faster, so rest and a decent night’s sleep are invaluable. Similarly, your body will burn calories at a rapid rate, even if you’re at your desk all day. So, feed it – you’ll need a lot of (healthy) fuel in your engine!
What marketing tip would you recommend time after time?
Do what you say you’re going to do. It’s such a simple principle, but one which so many people and business leaders just don’t seem to meet.Don’t over-commit, pay attention, work the late nights, and do whatever it takes to get the job done on time. Do that for a year, and in those initial 12 months, word-of-mouth and reputation will be worth more than any expensive marketing campaign. Also, when you’re starting out, never forget: taking bad business is worse than taking no business at all.